In 2012, Bruce Melodie made his debut on the Primus Guma Guma Super Star (PGGSS) stage. That time, it was only as a backup artiste for other contestants.
In 2014, he made it to the contestants’ list, emerging third in a competition that was won by Jay Polly. In 2015, he again participated and emerged second, with Knowless Butera taking the honors.
“The results showed that something was improving,” he remarked. In 2016, he again emerged third while Urban Boyz took that year.
In 2017, he did not participate in the competition, owing to one of the competition rules which stipulates that any artist participating three times successively would skip one year to continue competing.
“It was a long journey but today I am so happy because winning this competition was one of my targets in the industry,” an excited Melodie revealed when he visited The New Timesfor this interview.
Melody was crowned winner of the annual music contest at a colorful event at the Private Sector Federation (PSF) parking in Gikondo on Saturday night. He walked home with a winner’s bounty of Rwf 20 million after beating nine other contestants to the crown.
“After proclamation of the results, I took some of my team members and set off to a club to celebrate the victory and we partied till morning,” he revealed, adding; “we are organizing a big event to celebrate.”
“I have a team that helped me reach this success. My success is my team’s success.”
Melodie’s win hardly came as a surprise, owing to his superb musical form beginning early last year, following the raving success of his happy-go-lucky hit, Ikinya. Later, he made history as the first Rwandan artist to participate in the prestigious Coke Studio Africa music academy in Nairobi, Kenya.
The best competition for him would have been the girl duo of Charly and Nina, but the two opted out of the competition to concentrate on their European tour.
Literally everyone was confident Melodie was destined for a win –well everyone except himself:
“I was confident that winning was possible but since it was a competition, fear could not miss. My confidence did not lead me to fold my arms because I knew I had to work hard. Even on the final day I was so fearful and anyone watching the video can guess how fearful I was. In a competition any participant can win but I thank God for choosing me to be the overall winner.”
Asked what some of the highlights of the competition were, he said; “During the show in Rubavu, fans were so happy. Obviously, they were curious to see me in person rather than hearing my voice or songs because they were able to sing the songs themselves. Everyone knew my songs. My work was to introduce the song and leave them to do the rest of the singing. I sung the first, second, third songs with the audience singing along like we had done rehearsals together. It was so fantastic.”
He described this year’s competition as “exceptional” compared to previous ones:
“Before and after my stage performance, people would be singing my name Melody, Melody…! This was strange to me. It was the first time such a thing was happening. I was so surprised. This showed that they wished I won the competition.”
Did he ever see the competition slip away to another contestant? Yes. Although Khalfan was competing for the first time, he gave Melodie the jitters.
“In the competition, each competitor has something they are better than others. Khalfan cried on stage when we were in Musanze, this is something that I am not able to do and few of the competitors can do the same. At the final stage, if I were the one to award the best innovative artist who came up with unique things I would have chosen Khalfan.
The same Khalfan would later turn up in a casket at the grand finale, shocking many in the process.
“Christopher also had many fans. It was neck to neck between Christopher and I. Mico, Queen Cha and Active had very good music bands. All competitors were likely to change things.”
The singer turns rather philosophical when asked to offer tips on how to make it to PGGSS:
“I don’t think that every artiste needs to be in Guma Guma. Some artistes want to participate and frankly speaking participation is not what is the most necessary for them. For instance, there is a family that can afford breakfast, lunch and dinner and the other is able to afford only lunch. The essential thing is to know the reason why one family gets everything and another fails.”
“Someone eligible or able to compete in the competition is the one whose achievements (songs) inspired the people. It can be a shame on an artiste to participate and when they come on to the stage no one recognises your product or shows an interest in you. This would mean that you participated before your time came.
A good participant in Guma Guma is any artiste who has produced at least three songs that inspired the public and many of them know those songs. This will help you to sing and have the public join you to make your performance more interesting. Guma Guma is not for all people. The competition is for active people who significantly contribute to the industry.”